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article imageOp-Ed: Former Libyan Prime Minister released by militia group

By Ken Hanly     Aug 23, 2017 in World
Tripoli - After being detained for more than a week, former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been released. Zeidan was being held by a group headed by Haytem TaJouri, supposedly loyal to the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA).
Zeidan was reported released earlier but this turned out to be false. This time the release is widely confirmed including by several tweets. A UN tweet says: "SRSG @GhassanSalame spoke to former PM #AliZeidan in #Tripoli, expressed relief at his release & was pleased to find him in good health"
"SRSG" stands for Special Representative of the Secretary General Salame's title. A member of the eastern-based House of Representatives also confirmed the release: "Former Prime Minister Ali #Zidane is released after being abducted by a local militia in #Tripoli, #HoR member Ali Saedi confirms. #Libya" A news agency Alwasat tweeted: "Source: Fmr PM Ali Zeidan to appear before Attorney General in #Tripoli (Volunteered to do so, no cases against him)…" It may be that Tajouri insisted that he appear before the attorney general as a justification for his alleged arrest as Tajouri is reported to have called it on Facebook: "Commander of the TRB, Tajouri, also says on his Facebook account: 'The arrest was done in a legal way through a well-known force operating under the Ministry of Interior.'" However, head of the PC Faiez Serraj said later that there was no arrest warrant for Zeidan issued by the attorney general. Serraj claimed he was working for Zeidan's release and this finally has happened.
Neither the UN's envoy Salame nor Serraj head of the Presidential Council(PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA) had made any statement during the long period Zeidan was held. It appears that the PC has little power over Tajouri's Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade and neither the UN nor the GNA have the intestinal fortitude to even criticize the group for its actions which appear to be illegal. There is no statement from the UN that those who seized Zeidan should be punished.
The Libya Observer still speaks of Zeidan's being arrested on August 14th at the Victoria Hotel in Tripoli "on the basis of an old arrest warrant issued by the Office of the Attorney General" How this narrative can be true alongside Faiez's denial that Zeidan was seized on the order of the attorney general is hard to fathom. Perhaps the warrant is years old going back to the time in March of 2014 when he was ousted as Prime Minister. Perhaps someone can seize General Haftar on the basis of an arrest warrant issued in May of 2014 after he attempted a coup. Zeidan's family told the Observer that he was safe and well
A delegation from the south may have helped pressure Serraj to obtain Zeidan's release. Zeidan comes from Hun in the Jufra area. A member of Zeidan's family said that originally Zeidan intended to stay at another hotel but that Serraj had insisted that there was better security at the Victoria hotel. Serraj refused at first to meet with the southern delegation but the public reaction to this changed his mind according to the relative. Serraj claims this is not true that he met with the group as soon as he learned they were in Tripoli. Zeidan was reported to have been held at the Winzik hotel said to be under the control of Tajouri. Before the GNA government can impose law and order, the various militias in Tripoli and elsewhere need to be disbanded.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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